Paul Verhoeven’s latest film is a deliciously sexy thriller that you can’t look away from… No matter how hard you try.
“Elle” is not an easy watch, to say the least. The first thing you see is the heroine of the film being attacked and raped in her own home. But what do you expect from Paul Verhoeven – the director of “Basic Instinct”? It’s definitely not a film for all, but for those who do – you’re in for one hell of a time.
“Elle” is the story of a Michele (Isabelle Huppert) who is a 50- year old divorcee running a video game company. Like I previously stated, she is attacked at the beginning of the movie, but she doesn’t call the police. She waits to tell her friends until they are in the middle of a dinner and only then casually brings it up. Something is off…
This is how you feel most of the time watching “Elle.” Off. Everyone seems to have something to hide, they are all wearing some kind of facade. The reason we buy all of this and want to go on this journey? Two words: Isabelle Huppert.
Huppert is commonly referred to as the “Meryl Streep of France.” In this role, she accepted a part which was turned down by many American actresses and you can see why. The trauma this character goes through and the graphic way it is portrayed would not be any easy thing for any actress of a certain age to do. But Huppert gladly takes the challenge, and in doing so gives one of the greatest performances of the year.
The subtlety with which Huppert plays Michele, a woman with a tormented past going through this current trauma, is unparalleled. If she is not on the list for Best Actress at the Oscars this year, there is no justice in the world!
Verhoeven lets character be the guiding force in this story which easily could’ve been offensive or silly in the wrong hands. The smartest thing he does is let this be a character piece and simply sit back and watch how these crazy people interact and tear each other apart around a dinner table. When the movie builds to its twisting climax, you completely believe all of the insane and horrendous acts these characters do.
“Elle” is now the recipient of this year’s Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and, in a huge surprise, Isabelle Huppert walked away with the trophy for Best Actress in a Drama film. This is only the beginning of, hopefully, many awards this film will reap during awards season. It’s not for the faint of heart, but those who do watch it are in for one hell of a ride…
Awards Potential: Best Actress, it has been cut from the preliminary Best Foreign Language race